Trapped by Desire

Beside my porch hang two hummingbird feeders. Both contain clear sugar water. Each day hummingbirds drink from it – and the occasional bee/wasp as well.

Today when I checked the sweet liquid’s level in each feeder I noticed something dark floating within one.

It was a small wasp like creature.

I gazed intently at the trapped insect and wondered how it met its demise.

To become trapped within required the insect enter via a means that was not designed for such.

The only way in was through the small hole in the center of each of the yellow flowers that encircled the base of the feeder.  And, the base of the feeder was filled with the sugary solution – filled up to the holes in the flowers.

Apparently the creature was not satisfied to taste the sugary solution, or to sip it.  “All in” was it’s motto and “all in” was its demise.

Is it not so with us?

That which we desire often leads us to an “all in” attitude because we find that a simple taste leads to desire for more.  And, desire for more prompts us to sip.  And, when the sip no longer satisfies, we give all we are and have to obtain that which we desire.

And, we often are surprised to find ourselves trapped by that which we desired, and unable to find a way out.

“All in” becomes our lifestyle and we find ourselves unable (or unwilling) to free ourselves from the stickiness of desire.

Like the insect trapped within the feeder, floating in that which it desired most, we find ourselves sucked in and defeated by that which temps us.

Trapped.

What sticky situation do you find yourself curiously tasting? Sipping? Developing an “all in” attitude about?

Take a step back. Take a deep breath. Take a good look at what it is you desire and ask yourself…what happens if I go “all in?”

Absence Makes the Heart Grow

How is it possible that after a person is gone, it seems you come to know them better?

Perhaps it’s because the old barriers are gone and there is freedom to explore, not only the individual, but ourselves and our feelings.

Perhaps it’s because we are able to see the person as a whole, from the views and positions of others, and not just with our own eyes and through our own relationship.

I don’t know.  Wish I did.  Perhaps someone who reads this will be able to shed some light on this for me.

Dad died Father’s Day 2012.

When he died, I thought I knew him well.  And, I felt I had learned all of him, and about him, possible…that there could be no more to learn.

After all, as his daughter, I had known him for 55 years and had lived in his house for 20 of those years.

But, in the year+ that he’s been gone, I’ve come to see beyond the man I knew as Daddy and saw through eyes of adoration. In his absence, I’ve experienced him in new and different ways as friends and family have spoken of him and of their own loss.

I see my dad differently now. And, perhaps, I see myself differently as well.

My dad didn’t change.  It was only my perception of him that changed as my knowledge of him grew to a more well rounded understanding of who he was as a man, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a father-in-law, a grandfather, a friend….

And, as I beheld the man…the whole man, I began to look at the woman…the whole woman.

Me.

Part of my understanding of who I was (am) was founded in who my dad was, or, who I saw and understood him to be, and my relationship to and with him.

My identity was, in part, wrapped up in his.  Or, in the identity I had given him because of my experiences with him, our relationship, and the words of others.

“You’re just like your daddy!”  “I see your daddy in you!” “You’re your daddy made over!”

Dad’s been gone a little over 14 months.

When I look in the mirror, I still see him…the eyes, the perpetual frown (genetic not anger generated), curls, freckles….

But, more often than not, I see me and traits I obtained from him.  And, I am beginning to accept, and like, the me that I see.

It’s good to look beyond and observe the whole of a matter…of a person…of a situation.  Taking in what’s ignored or unseen gives a more complete picture and greater understanding of and appreciation for what is.  And, you never know…you just might find yourself – your true self – hidden within your assumptions and blind ideas.

Take a look around you – a fresh look with open eyes and willing heart.  You might be surprised by what you learn about those nearest and dearest to you.

And, you just might be surprised to find that you grow up and grow into the person you’ve been all along and just didn’t realize it because you were trying to be someone else.

Happy 88th Birthday, Daddy!  I’ve always loved you, but I find my love and appreciation for you has grown in your absence. The more I learn of you, the more I love you and appreciate the traits of you that I see in me.

Autism and Induced Labor

I stumbled upon an interesting read on Yahoo News.  Thought you might find it interesting, too.

Inducing labor may be tied to autism, study says – by Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press.

As a mom who labored twice with the aid of labor enhancing drugs, and who is aware of many more women who did than did not, I find this a bit frightening.

The biggest study of its kind suggests autism might be linked with inducing and speeding up labor, preliminary findings that need investigating since labor is induced in increasing numbers of U.S. women, the authors and other autism experts say. Read more.

For more about autism, please click on the following.

Slick Underfoot

Frizz-Ease

What’s in that stuff?

Daughter sprayed it on her hair to smooth it and fight frizz before going to bed.

I didn’t notice a problem until I headed to the throne room the next morning to attend to morning needs.

The floor was slick.

And, it was shiny.

My bare feet slipped and slid on the dry floor and I landed with a thud on the throne, thankfully rear first and not head first.

“What’s on this floor?” I screeched in my best pre-coffee voice.

“It’s what I sprayed on my hair last night…I noticed it this morning at 1 when I went in there.  It’s only slick to bare feet.”

Only slick to bare feet….”What was it?” I asked as I glanced around the throne room for the offending spray.

“Hair stuff!” was her rely.

I looked at my bare feet and at the small stretch of shiny, slick floor that stretched from where I’d landed to the throne room door.

A towel was on the floor, so I pulled it close and wiped my feet on it before standing.  The towel, apparently, had been sprayed as well and added to the precarious situation.

I grabbed a damp washcloth and tossed it to the floor and began wiping the floor with the cloth and my bare foot.

That didn’t help.

I grabbed a Clorox cleaning cloth from the cabinet beneath the sink and tried it.

No good.  Still super slick.

I heard Hubby stirring and issued a warning as I headed for the kitchen where I kept 409.

409 would strip paint off of walls and remove crayon from carpets (believe me, I know) – surely it would work on the stuff coating the floor.

It took two scrubbings with 409 before most of the stuff was gone.

I looked at the bottle to see if there were any warnings. Apart from the usual “keep out of eyes” there wasn’t much that I could read…such teeny, tiny print.

An online search yielded this:

Caution: Combustible. Avoid fire, flame and smoking during use and until hair is fully dried. Avoid spraying in eyes. If this occurs, rinse thoroughly with water immediately. Use only as directed. Keep out of reach of children.

Ah…there’s the problem.

Keep out of reach of children.

I put the Frizz-ease bottle up…where she can’t reach it.  That should take care of any further problems.

Nanny

Born on this day in 1908 to sharecroppers, Viola Susan Frances Oliver began the journey that would take over 96 years to complete.

She lost her mother at age 2 and lived with her grandmother, grandfather, dad and little brother, Euphrates. Nanny’s father never spoke with her of her mother…refused to share any details of her death.  All she knew was that her mother died.

She came down with Small Pox at age 4 and was so sick for so long that she had to learn to walk again.  Until a few years before her death, she had a place on her lower leg that refused to heal and continued to ooze enough to require a covering.

Her childhood was lived without the conveniences of electricity, indoor plumbing, or iceboxes. Too keep milk cold, it was placed in the spring that bubbled up out of the ground – always cold, always clean.

Deprived of an education (her daddy felt girls didn’t need schooling), she taught herself to read and do arithmetic.  Good thing – her sporadic school attendance ended before 4th grade.

“You can’t go there, you can’t do that…you’re a girl” was often told her by her dad. She envied her brother and his ability to be with their dad…simply because he was a boy.

World War 1 (The Great War) touched her, as it did all.

The flu epidemic that tore across the world in 1918 and ripped apart families touched her, and her family, too, claiming several close to her – an uncle (her father’s brother) and a cousin (his daughter).  Her father married her Aunt Emma – the widow of his brother.

At age 19, she married Poppy (he was 21) on a covered bridge on the 26th of October.  The setting was, no doubt, picturesque…the bridge…the creek…the brilliant Autumn foliage.  This was before Kodak and cell phones, so there were no pictures.  The preacher who performed the ceremony became her brother-in-law when he pronounced them husband and wife. He went by the nickname “Son Johnny.”

Nanny and Poppy lived with Maw Thomas on the “Old Thomas Place.” Paw had died several years prior.  (If memory serves me correctly, he was kicked by a horse, or a mule.)

My mother was born a year and a month after they married – after a bout of what Nanny thought was a belly ache from eating turnips.

When it appeared labor was well underway, one of Poppy’s younger brothers set out on their mule to get the doctor.  He arrived in time to deliver her and then promptly left.  There was no prenatal or postnatal care for Nanny – and no pediatrician to check the baby or to give 6 weeks shots.  And, there were no 6 weeks shots to give.

When her mother in law attempted to tell her what to do and how to care for her newborn daughter, Nanny said to her, “Maw when you had your babies, you did exactly as you pleased with them and I’ll bet no one told you how to raise them. Isn’t that right?”  Maw was reported to have said, “That’s right!  I raised my babies exactly as I saw fit.”  Nanny replied, “And, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”  And, she did.

Her firstborn – my mother – was the first thing that was truly hers.

It was said that when my mother was born, her daddy was sent out to check his traps and when he returned was allowed into the house to see his wife and new baby.  Momma had been cleaned up and wrapped up, then placed on the old black trunk that sat beside the bed. Poppy came in and started to sit down on the trunk beside the bed and Nanny screamed, “NO! Don’t sit there, you’ll sit on the baby!”

A son came along a couple of years later.

And, then when my mom was 4 and her brother was 2, Poppy came down with TB (tuberculosis) and Nanny moved her family (and their cow) from miles out in the country to the big city so her husband could receive treatment at the TB Sanatorium.  Her children were placed there as well for 2 or 3 months – as a precaution.

While in the hospital, word arrived that Poppy’s mother had died after supper one night from a massive heart attack.  Nanny obtained permission for Poppy and their children to leave the hospital for several days.  She then contacted a mail carrier that she knew and arranged for him to take them back to the country for the funeral.  They arrived at the end of the service, just as they were closing the casket.

She had no car and no transportation.  She lived miles from the Sanatorium and so walked there to be with her family when she wasn’t working.  Yes, she had to support herself and her young family.

She worked WPA jobs before they let her go – she made too much.

The first was a sewing job where she had to provide her own sewing machine (heavy machine with a huge cabinet) and walk to and from work each day.  The second was at a meat cannery.  She said the beef smelled so good cooking…she wished she could have eaten some.

Times were hard…far harder than any of us know or understand.

Poppy was unable to work. One lung remained collapsed and though he no longer tested positive, he continued to take medication to suppress and treat TB.

My mom and her brother were poster kids for TB when they were 8 and 6.

They were poor and on Welfare.  When she worked, she made too much for Welfare, but not enough to support her family. Nanny was afraid her children would be taken from her because she was unable to provide all they wanted and needed.

A third child was born 17 years after the first – daughter #2.

Her husband never fully recovered his strength and suffered a stroke that left him unable to work.

And, then a heart attack claimed him when I was 6.

Nanny was on her own.

6 years later, her only son died of a massive heart attack…no warning…just a phone call in the night saying he was gone.

She lived a hard life, but her heart remained tender.

Viola Thomas, or Nanny as I knew her, was an amazing woman.  She was self made, and made of stern stuff.  My dad once said of her, “She’s a tough ol’ bird!”

I can’t imagine the hardships and heartbreaks she had from her earliest memories.  Yet she never complained, never was bitter, never let her circumstances get her down.

Her laughter, silenced years ago by death, still rings in my ears when I think of her.

She loved life.  She loved her family.  And, she loved her God.  And, all three loved her back.

I love you, Nanny.  And, I miss you so much!  Happy 105th Birthday!!

What’s That Smell?

Something smelled bad.

For two days I looked in the kitchen for the offending odor.

  • I took out the garbage
  • I washed out the trashcan
  • I bleached the sinks and drains
  • I checked under the cabinet
  • I looked under the stove top
  • I washed the recycle bin
  • I looked in the microwave
  • I peeked between the fridge and the wall
  • I looked under everything and behind everything I could
  • I stood in the middle of the floor and sniffed
  • I cleaned the floor
  • I cleaned out the refrigerator

And, there it was – in the back of the refrigerator, on the bottom shelf, hidden behind Daughter’s gallon of milk and Hubby’s tea pitcher.

It was wrapped in a white plastic bag and was impossible to see until I got on my knees and looked deep within the fridge.

I knew immediately what it was.

Several days prior I had bought a whole chicken – something I rarely do – and had placed it in the fridge to deal with later.

Life happened, days passed, and the chicken was pushed deeper and deeper into the fridge and farther from my thoughts.

The rancid odor it now produced drove me to deal with it right away.

Into the trash it went and out the door the trash bag sailed, landing with a thud on the ground.

I washed the offending odor from my hands and slipped on shoes.  The next day was trash pickup and I intended to be rid of the smelly memory of my delay, failure, procrastination, error…sin.

Out the back door I headed, down the steps and into the yard where I grabbed up the trash bag. I flipped open the lid to the huge trash receptacle, placed the bag inside, and slammed the lid closed on it forever.  Then, without delay, I pulled the trash receptacle out to the road where I left it.

While outside, I inhaled deeply, cleansing my lungs and driving the lingering memory of the smell from me.

Before entering the kitchen door, I placed my face inches from the 4 o’clocks that bloom beside the porch and inhaled deeply.

Ah…such sweet fragrance….

Back inside I went to deal with the lingering smelly problem.

  • I threw open doors and windows
  • I aired everything, even the refrigerator
  • I cleaned out and disinfected the refrigerator
  • I sprayed Febreze
  • I washed my hands
  • I forgave myself

Yeah, I did.  I forgave myself.

“Why?” you ask?

Because I was the one who created the problem.  I was the one who made the stink because I chose poorly and put off doing what I should have. It was me who caused the waste, not someone else.

What good would it do to punish myself?  I felt badly enough as it was.

Forgive and move on.

That’s how I try to live.

Want a piece of advice?

Deal with issues before they begin to stink.  Just like the old chicken in the fridge smelled up my house and cost me precious hours as I searched for it and cleaned up after it – old hurts, memories, wrongs will smell up your house and cost you precious time, too.

Stop putting it off.  Deal with what’s there.  Do it now. Don’t be embarrassed.  You’re not the only one who’s experienced it, who’s done it, who’s had it happen to them.

  • Clear it out
  • Air it out
  • Clean it out
  • Find the positive
  • Forgive yourself/others
  • Move on

If you can’t find the source of the problem, get help. Don’t let it continue to stink up your life, your home, your relationships. You deserve better.

Gotta run.  I’m off to the store…I hear they have good price on whole chickens….

😉

3 Months Old

Yesterday, Granddaughter turned 3 months old.

On Facebook, several days prior, I noticed her mom mentioned Granddaughter was put to bed on her tummy and in the morning she was on her back.

“We have a roller,” is how her mom described her.

I smiled.

The fun is just beginning for them.

Granddaughter is growing toward independence already.

Ah, yes…the fun is just beginning….

Friday, Son shared a video on Facebook.  Granddaughter was laughing.

Her laughter was light, bubbly…contagious.  I could not help myself…I giggled, too.

I could have listened to that precious girl laugh all day long!  I smile even now as I recall how her laughter sounded.

And, the cute baby coos she made as she attempted to talk to her mom…ah, so precious. One day soon those coos will become words and she will begin to communicate on a level beyond wails and giggles.

I pray for Granddaughter, and for her parents.  May God grant them wisdom beyond their years and experience.

I love you Granddaughter! I hope to see you soon and to giggle right along with you. 🙂

Justifiable Homicide

So, here’s how it went down.

Our washer/dryer is in our garage.  I headed out the kitchen door, lugging a huge basket of dirty clothes.

Across the yard I struggled, unlocked the garage door, stepped up and over the threshold, then into the garage.

As the door swung open and my eyes watched the sunlight slide across the floor…I saw her.

She was poised, ready to flee.  Her eight legs were spread wide in a circle around her…ready to run in any direction.  I’m sure the brilliant light blinded her.

I stopped immediately, set down the clothes basket, grabbed one of Hubby’s work shoes on the floor near her and leaned in for a closer look.

She was huge – big bodied and long legged.  I’m sure her male counterpart found her sexy…before she ate him.  If she’d been resting a top a coin, it would have taken a half dollar piece to contain all of her.

At first I assumed she was a wolf spider – they can and do bite, but I don’t kill wolf spiders because I see them as “beneficial.”  However, upon closer inspection I saw a fiddle on her back.

With a WHACK and another WHACK for good measure I brought the size 12 shoe down upon her and snuffed her out right then and there.

And, when two of her legs dared twitch, I whacked her again, harder.

She lay in a mangled mess on the garage floor and to hide my deed I pulled the lawn mower over to cover her.

I have a rule at my house and that rule says “If you are a Brown Recluse Spider, and I see you and can get to you…you will die.”

Before I opened the door and allowed light to cross her path, she was in darkness.  Probably thought it was night and she felt free to roam about in search of a meal…or a mate.

But I squashed her plans.  Squished them, too.

The problem is…a spider that size probably has several generations of babies…in my garage, among my boxes and junk.

I doubt there’s a court in the land that would find me guilty of harboring ill will and murderous thoughts against this spider and her brood.

And, I’m sure it would be considered justifiable homicide when I explained, “Your Honor, it was a home invasion.  She entered with malice and forethought, with intent to do me or my loved ones harm. It was either her or me.”

Where’s my can of spider spray??  Oh, yeah…it’s out in the garage.

Morning Pause

As I stood at the front entry and watched Daughter back out of the driveway, my vision was obscured by a small, dark object that bobbed before me.

As I focused my eyes from 50 ft away to 10 inches directly in front of my face, just beyond the storm door glass, my near vision cleared.

Before me, just inches from my nose, hovered a hummingbird.

It was looking right at me.

I blinked and it darted off.

What an experience!

How could something so tiny, so delightfully perfect…evolve, or randomly happen? I see the hand and intelligence of a Designer/Creator in that small hummingbird.

I feel blessed to have been the reason for this hummer’s pause in her busy morning feeding routine. Her brief visit drew me into things larger than and well beyond myself.

I came face to face with a visual reminder of God’s design, love, and perfect plan for each thing created – and that includes me.

And, it includes you, too.

To learn more about hummingbirds, check out these amazing facts.

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
  • Hummingbirds can flash their bright colors, as well as hide them when needed.
  • Hummingbirds have tiny hairs on the tip of the tongue to help lap up nectar.
  • A hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,260 times per minute.
  • A hummingbird will take about 250 breaths per minute while at rest.
  • The hummingbird’s body temperature is around 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They weigh less than a penny and are, on average, 8.5 centimenters long from beak tip to tail tip.
  • 30% of a hummingbird’s weight consists of flight muscles
  • They have about 940 feathers.
  • A baby hummingbird is smaller than a penny.
  • Its wings will beat about 70 times per second when flying, and up to 200 times per second when diving.
  • Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly both forward and backwards.
  • They can hover in mid-air, fly sideways and even upside-down.
  • Hummingbirds can fly an average of 25-30 miles per hour.
  • A hummingbird’s wings can rotate in a full circle.
  • It’s been estimated that a Ruby-Throat Hummingbird takes about twenty (20) hours to fly across the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Hummingbirds need to eat on average 7 times per hour for about 30-60 seconds.
  • A hummingbird will visit an average of 1,000 flowers a day.
  • Hummingbirds eat small soft bugs for protein.
  • A hummingbird will lap up nectar at a rate of about 13 licks per second.
  • When hummingbirds sleep at night, they go into a hibernation-like state called torpor .to save energy.
  • When a hummingbird enters torpor, their metabolic rate is one-fifteenth (1/15) of normal sleep.
  • When in torpor the hummingbird’s heart rate can drop to as few as 50 beats per minute and its body temperature as low as 70 degrees.
  • Hummingbirds are only found naturally in the Americas.
  • Hummingbirds are found as far north as Alaska.
  • Hummingbirds are found as far south as Chile.
  • Hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds in the Western Hemisphere.
  • There are more than 300 types/species of hummingbirds.
  • The county of Ecuador has the largest number of types/species of hummingbirds.
  • There are more than fifty (50) types/species of hummingbirds that breed in Mexico.
  • There are more than fifteen (15) types/species of hummingbirds that breed in the United States.
  • There are more than three (3) types/species of hummingbirds that breed in Canada.

Shift

While typing on my laptop, I reached for the right shift key with my little finger.

Immediately I felt something go “sproing” within my hand and then intense pain spread from the top of my hand, through to my palm.

Typing was painful.  In fact, anything I did with my right hand produced pain.

It affected my grip and range of motion.  I found myself using my left hand for tasks usually accomplished by my right.

Or, rather, attempting to complete tasks with my left.

Have you ever tried to comb/brush your hair with your non dominant hand?  Or, your teeth?

When in 2nd grade, I broke my right wrist and endured a cast for several months.  My left hand learned to perform many everyday tasks as my right hand rested. But, it never became proficient at any of them.

It’s amazing how smart our dominant hand is and how well connected to the brain it seems.

My poor left hand seems upside down and inside out when it comes to performing simple tasks and disconnected from my brain when it comes to figuring out how to hold a brush or pencil.

My left hand’s job is to type on the left side of my keyboard, to lift my coffee cup for a sip, to brush the hair out of my eyes, to hold an item while my right hand works on it….

When called upon to do things it’s not familiar with and is not wired to accomplish, confusion and frustration are the norm.

So it is in life.

Things rock along rather well when I’m in my element and working in the area in which I’m interested, proficient and experienced.

But, take me out of that element and place me in something in which I have no clue, no interest, no experience – I become totally left-handed in my approach.  It’s a disaster.

I’ve found that when I’m spinning my wheels, feeling frustration, and accomplishing little it’s time to take a step back and a hard look at what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, and why.

My strength lies in my dominant traits and abilities.  That’s where my focus needs to be – on my right-handedness, not off on some tangent that feels left-handed to me.

What about you?